‘Big five’ citizens don’t trust governments on immigration

An opinion poll reveals that more than 80% of British, French, Spanish, Italians and Germans have no confidence in their governments’ immigration policy.

Three in four (76%) of the British say there are too many immigrants in their country, according to an opinion poll conducted by Financial Times/Harris in early October 2006, a largely negative response to UK’s open-door policy to workers from the ten new EU member states. Half of the British also think that immigrants in general have made a negative impact on the UK economy. Some 600,000 workers from the EU-10 have moved to the UK following enlargement.

The poll, carried out in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK among 5,000 adults, shows that the French are the least worried about the number of immigrants while the Spanish are the most positive about immigrants’ impact on their country’s economy. Spain also trusts its government most on the way it deals with immigrants.

These results indicate, according to Financial Times, that Europeans are likely to be “highly sensitive to future eastward enlargements of the EU, particularly to Turkey” and that politicians will have a hard time convincing people of the benefits of legal economic imigration. 

EU heads of state will discuss immigration in their informal meeting on 20 October 2006.

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